It was registered by UNESCO in 1978.

Lalibela: A true wonder of the world not “built” but “hewn” and intricately curved from Virgin rock, are unable to believe that the rock churches are entirely made by man. They attribute their creation to one of the last Kings of the Zagwe Dynasty, king Lalibela, in the 12th Century. Lalibela is internationally renowned for its 11 rock-hewn churches which are sometimes called the eight wonders of the World.

The town of Roha, now known as Lalibela, is the site of eleven remarkable rock churches which rank with the major wonders of the world. They are different from most ordinary churches as they have been cut in one piece out of the solid rock and are frequently connected by tunnels. Many historians believe that all or at least some of these churches were built by King Lalibela. Some legends claim that the workers were helped by angels who did three times as much in the night as they did in the day. It is probable that some of this work dates from before the time of Lalibela (1190-1225).

Coming to Lalibela you will find an atmosphere of mystery approaching the village in a vehicle drive from the airport you may just catch a glimpse of a group of churches.

Walking through the village you will see the quite, even austere, mountainous landscape of the region of Lasta, where the peasants labor to cultivate their patches of stony fields with the traditional hook-plough. Strolling along across a gently undulating meadow, you will suddenly discover in a pit below you a mighty rock-carefully chiseled and shaped- the first rock church! None of these monuments of Christian faith presents itself to the visitors on top of a mountain as a glorious symbol of Christ’s victory, to be seen from far away by the masses of pilgrims on their road to the “Holy City”; they rather hide themselves in the rock, surrounded by their deep trenches, only to be discovered by the visitor when standing very close on top of the rock and looking downwards.

The town of Roha-Lalibela lies between the first and the second group of churches, one on each side of the river Jordan, and one other church set apart from the rest.

There are twelve churches and chapels, including various shrines. Four churches are monolithic in the strict sense; the rest remainders are excavated churches in different degrees of separation from the rock. The walls of the trenches and courtyards contain cavities and chambers sometimes filled with mummies of pious monks and pilgrims.

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